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The Department of Homeland Security Outlines the Responsible Use of AI

The Department of Homeland Security Outlines the Responsible Use of AI

Artificial intelligence has become one of the most talked-about technologies throughout every sector of society. It’s being widely used in business, education, and civic life. We want to focus on the latter element and discuss how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is using AI to improve its ability to keep Americans safe. 

The Department of Homeland Security is a vast organization that oversees a lot of federal organizations, including:

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services 
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • U.S. Secret Service
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Federal Law Enforcement Training Center

With all these agencies under their purview, DHS looks after the nation’s security, and AI has become a crucial part of its tool chest. In 2024, DHS put out its AI roadmap that spells out how it will use innovative AI and machine learning technologies to better serve the public good. Since the use of the technology is a bit controversial, its brief is clear that they will:

  • Responsibly leverage AI to advance Homeland Security missions while protecting individuals’ privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties;
  • Promote Nationwide AI Safety and Security; and
  • Continue to lead in AI through strong cohesive partnerships

As vague as this list is, it basically states that DHS is looking for ways to use AI with personal constitutional protections in mind and to do it through partnerships with the private sector. 

The brief went on to list some of the ways in which DHS plans to use AI. They include:

  • Per the Executive Order, CISA completed an operational pilot using AI cybersecurity systems to detect and remediate vulnerabilities in critical United States Government software, systems, and networks.
  • Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) will use AI to enhance investigative processes focused on detecting fentanyl and increasing the efficiency of investigations related to combating child sexual exploitation.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will deploy AI to help communities develop hazard mitigation plans that build resilience and minimize risks.
  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will use AI to improve immigration officer training.

The DHS operates under the mandate of the Executive Branch of the United States. As a result, any AI initiatives will be signed off by the President and other approved cabinet-level public servants.

There are questions on how exactly AI can work to improve the efficiency of the programs created to keep citizens safe. Still, as people looking to perpetrate crimes against the people of the U.S. are also using the technology, it has become imperative that DHS also has a plan to deploy these systems. 

If you want to read more interesting technology-related content, please return to our blog soon. 

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